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Device Profile: ThinLinx Hot-E thin client device

Jul 20, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 72 views

ThinLinx will launch a line of Linux-based thin-clients that access Ubuntu Linux desktops and commercial Linux applications hosted on ThinLinx's grid network. The Hot-E initially offers Firebird database, Compiere and OpenCRX ERP/CRM software, E-GroupWare, and LinuxCanada POS/accounting software. It uses caching X proxies from NoMachine to improve performance.

ThinLinx's highly compact Hot-E thin clients

The company lists possible uses for the device that include:

  • Wireless ISP using NoCat
  • POS (point-of-sales)
  • Video walls of unlimited size using multiple Hot-E's

Additionally, the company says it is readying handheld and laptop versions of the Hot-E, and is available to work with clients on custom needs.

The “legacy-free” design (i.e. no PS2 ports) includes two USB 2.0 ports, an RS232/RS485 port, a CompactFlash slot, SD/MMC slot, audio I/O, 10/100 Ethernet, and a DB15 CRT socket. The device can be powered by a 12-Volt “Plugpack,” or optionally by PoE (power-over-Ethernet).

The Hot-E is rather small

What's under the hood?

The Hot-E clients are powered by an Atmel AT91RM9200 SoC, based on an ARM9 core clocked at 200MHz. They also include a Silicon Motion SM501 graphics SoC, which supports SXGA (1280 x 1024) resolution.

The device boots a Linux 2.6.12 kernel and loads a Debian ARM Linux filesystem from 8MB of Flash, running it in 64MB of RAM. Alternatively, the Hot-E device can run a full Debian ARM Linux installed on a CompactFlash card, or LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Software), ThinLinx says.

The Hot-E will be among the first commercial applications of NoMachine's NX technology, which places a caching proxy server at both ends of the client-server connection used by the X protocol. NoMachine launched NX in September of 2003, asking the open source community to help. Much of NX technology is available under a free license.

NX architecture diagram
(Click to enlarge)

NoMachine updated NX in November of 2004, and this year, has licensed NX to Linux thin-client vendor SmartFlex, and signed a development agreement with Linux server software vendor Win4Lin.


The Hot-E will be available in about six weeks.

Left outside to dry, Tux was attacked by a kangaroo AND a crow, but was successfully repaired in time for the company launch party

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